Drink less this Lent

The Pioneers have launched a campaign focused on Temperance Sunday (22nd Feb 2009) calling on people to drink less during Lent 2009.

The CEO of the Pioneers Association, Mr. Padraig Brady, called on people to abstain or reduce their alcohol consumption during Lent. “It is now widely accepted that alcohol abuse is having a very serious effect on Irish society. Alcohol-related problems such as healthcare, crime, accidents and absenteeism now costs the state 3 billion Euro a year. Excessive consumption of alcohol is a problem both for society and for many individuals. Many people nowadays are concerned that they are drinking too much. The odd glass of wine has become a daily habit or the couple of pints in the pub are now four or five. They would like to do something about it but need a bit of support. This Lent can be a great opportunity for people collectively to support each other and make the effort to either cut back or abstain altogether from alcohol.”

The Pioneers have over 100,000 members North and South, young and old. They have a long and distinguished history and according to Mr. Brady, “Pioneers are not anti-drink but members do take a lifelong pledge not to drink alcohol. They do so in the hope that this sacrifice and their prayers can help build a society where people live to their full potential and alcohol can be enjoyed in moderation. We want to help create a healthy society, avoiding all the ills that arise from the excessive use and abuse of drink.”

Welcoming the Pioneer initiative Ms Mary Wallace, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children with special responsibility for Health Promotion and Food Safety said “There is a social acceptance of alcohol in our society and I believe that we need to question the signal that this is sending, particularly to our young people. I believe that there are benefits for society as a whole if everyone tries to reduce their alcohol consumption. It is never too late to start and the onset of the season of Lent provides an ideal starting point.”

Bishop Eamonn Walsh, Vice Chair of the Irish Bishops’ Drugs Initiative, also voiced his support for the Pioneers Lenten call. “Temperance Sunday gives us a chance to reflect about our own drinking habits and to discuss honestly with family and friends the way we use or abuse alcohol. The six weeks of Lent provide a good length of time for people to really make a change for the better in their drinking, if they need to. And that’s much easier to do if you feel you’re not on your own but have the support of friends, relatives or other people who see the value in cutting down on alcohol. The more we support and take part in initiatives like this the better example we set for our young people, where drink is concerned”.

As part of this nationwide campaign the Pioneers have produced a special 8 page magazine that will be distributed free of charge outside 100 churches on 22nd February.